Plans to install communications mast upset residents who have planted thousands of bulbs

Image above: Thousands of bulbs have been planted in ‘Beaconsfield Gardens’

Ealing Council’s plans being kept from residents, or just an ‘over-zealous surveyor’?

Plans to install a communications mast have upset residents who live near Beaconsfield Rd, the main road which connects Chiswick with Acton.

Alongside the road, on the other side from the Duke of Sussex pub, is a stretch of grass which has become known unofficially as ‘Beaconsfield Gardens’ because residents have taken it over and planted thousands of bulbs there.

Jen Thorneycraft is one of those who, working with Abundance London, has spent many hours with other volunteers picking up litter and planting bulbs there. She told The Chiswick Calendar she had been working there one day before Christmas when a surveyor turned up and started marking out the ground.

He told her, quite unequivocally, that there would be a communications mast installed there.

“There was no doubt in his mind” she told us. “He said: ‘this is the size of the cabinet’ and ‘this is the site of the mast’. I asked whether any of the trees would be felled and he said they wouldn’t, because he could show me exactly on the plans where it was going to go.”

This was the first local residents had heard about firm plans, because there had been no mention of it from Ealing Council, no planning application or consultation at all.

“The rules seemd to be quite complicated” said Jen, “but apparently up to 25 metres is considered as ‘permitted development’. There were two similar proposals in 2015 and 2016 which were turned down because they were in contravention of the Council’s guidelines, but apparently the planning regulations have changed since then at Government level.”

When local councillor Andrew Steed followed up with the Council, he was told this was merely a case of an “over-zealous” surveyor, and there were no such firm plans, but alarm bells had started to ring when the Council recently announced plans to remove the Beaconsfield estate from the local Conservation Area:

READ ALSO: Concerns raised about Ealing conservation area proposed changes

“Dozens and dozens of volunteers have been working on this space” said Jen, “painting fences, creating bug hotels. We should be looking after our green spaces in collaboration with Ealing Council.”

She was told the mast would be 18.6 metres high. We all complain about poor mobile phone reception and the masts have to go somewhere, Wouldit really be so bad if it was there? I asked her.

“It might not take up a huge amount of space, but we have taken a piece of previously unused space and tranformed it, putting in hundreds of hours of work. We’ve made it so much nicer and lots of people now use it. Who’s going to want to walk here when there’s a huge mast here?”

Local residents have now formed a residents association, the first meeting of which will be later this week.

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